Abassiya psychiatric hospital to be listed an Islamic monument

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 29 Dec 2010

Cultural listing may settle the controversy surrounding the fate of the Abassiya public hospital for mental illness

Following a comprehensive study and inspection of its building the Al Abassiya psychiatric hospital was declared an Islamic monument.

Culture minister Farouk Hosni pointed out that the report, prepared by the scientific and archaeological committee that checked the hospital's buildings, will be submitted to the permanent committee of Islamic and Coptic monuments at its next meeting, in order to list the hospital on Egypt’s Islamic heritage list.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) explains that during his reign (1280-1296 of Higra) Khedive Ismail built a large edifice called Saraya Al Malek.  Unfortunately a large part of it was burned and replaced with the recent building, except for a few historical elements that remain.

Placing the  hospital on the Islamic monuments list could settle the controversy surrounding the future of the hospital, which has been the subject of rumour lately. Situated over seceral acres of prime Cairo realestate, there were indications that the government had plans to relocate the hospital in Badr City, 80Km north of Cairo. The rumored relocation caused an outcry among the hospital's staff, and the Egyptian psychiatric community as a whole.

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